16/02/2021 07:49 GMT | Updated 16/02/2021 14:19 GMT

Has Lockdown 3 Worked? How Covid Cases, Hospitals Numbers And The R Rate Changed

Boris Johnson is set to announce his plans to ease lockdown on Monday. Here's crucial data he will be guided by.

Boris Johnson will next week outline the country’s route out of lockdown.

The prime minister on Monday said one of the measures he will be looking at to decide how and when to lift measures is infection rates.

It comes as the number of weekly new cases dropped to levels last seen in early October, and with the number of people in hospital set to soon fall below the April peak.

It’s safe to say the lockdown has been successful in helping to drive down record numbers of deaths, cases and hospital admissions seen in January.

Here’s the impact it has had on the pandemic.

Case rates



Case rates in all local authorities are now lower than six weeks ago when the third national lockdown was announced.

At the start of January, there were 43 local authorities with over 1,000 weekly new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. Across all local authorities, the weekly case rate was at 627 cases per 100,000.

After six weeks, the weekly rate across all local authorities is now at 130 cases per 100,000, but is still as high as 300 in some areas.

Every week, there have been some areas where cases have gone up instead of down. However, the overall trend is that case rates are falling in most authorities. 

Anthony Masters, statistical ambassador for the Royal Statistical Society, said there was a similar decline after the stay-at-home order in November. “Lockdowns and other public health policies are helping to bring down confirmed cases.

“When restrictions in England reverted to local tiers on December 2, the virus spread with the extra-transmissible variant rising to dominance. The ONS surveys also suggest that the positive share is reducing from its New Year peak.”

Case rates are falling at different speeds. Out of the 10 local authorities that had the highest case rates at the beginning of the lockdown, Broxbourne and Redbridge have seen the biggest decreases. Their case rates are now 12 times lower compared to the beginning of the lockdown. In Knowsley and Halton, cases have gone down more slowly with case rates being five times lower. 

Weekly cases have also gone up again in some areas, as data for the week to February 15 shows.

These areas include: 

  • Exeter (up 155%)

  • Copeland (up 51%)

  • West Lindsey (up 51%)

  • Lincoln (up 31%)

  • East Devon (up 17%)

  • Newark and Sherwood (up 17%)

  • Hambleton (up 11%)

R rate 

The R rate in England before the lockdown was estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.4. This meant that when 10 people were infected, they passed the virus onto 11 to 14 additional people.

The south-west of England had the highest rates, between 1.1 and 1.5 as of January 8.

After two weeks of lockdown, the rate in England was estimated to be between 0.8 and 1, indicating the virus was less prevalent in circulation.

Figures from February 12 showed that the R rate in England was between 0.7 and 0.9 meaning the epidemic was shrinking. 

  • England (0.7 – 0.9)

  • East of England (0.7 – 0.9)

  • London (0.6 – 0.8)

  • Midlands (0.7 – 0.9)

  • North-east and Yorkshire (0.8 – 0.9)

  • North-west (0.7 – 0.9)

  • South-east (0.7 – 0.8)

  • South-west (0.7 – 0.9)

Hospital numbers

On January 18, hospital cases peaked at 34,336. Latest data shows that there were still 17,694 patients with the virus in hospitals as of February 13.

This is the first time hospital cases have been below the first wave peak in April since the final week in December.

Coronavirus patients in the north-west and north-east and Yorkshire hospitals are only just below the numbers recorded at the beginning of the third lockdown.



People in hospital as of Jan 5

People in hospital as of Feb 13

% Change

East of England












North East and Yorkshire




North West




South East




South West